Off-duty HPD officer involved in deadly shooting

April 20, 2010 3:38:47 PM PDT
There are a lot of unanswered questions after an off-duty Houston police officer shot and killed a teenager in Arlington, Texas, yesterday. Investigators said Rafael Baez, Jr., was off-duty when he opened fire during a gang fight around 6:30pm, killing the 18-year-old male. The incident apparently began at a park near I-20 and Matlock Road and then spilled into the street. Arlington police tell Eyewitness News the officer was at a home near that location and had come out to try and stop the fight.

Houston police tell us Officer Baez believed that teen had a weapon, and that the he only opened fire after the suspect displayed that weapon. Authorities say the suspect ran and Officer Baez shot again. We're told the teen fell to the ground and the officer kept shooting, unloading his weapon.

The wounded teen was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities identified the victim as 18-year-old Clevontae Reynolds of Arlington. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner says Reynolds was shot six times.

Officer Baez has been with the Houston Police Department since he was sworn in during July 1993. He currently works out of northeast patrol.

Officer Baez was apparently placed in the back of a patrol car following the incident. Arlington police would not say yet whether they believe the shooting was justified. Officer Baez is now being represented by an attorney with the Houston's Police Officer's Union.

"Preliminary reports that I received, it was a justified shooting," said Gary Blankinship with the Houston Police Officers' Union. "The person brandished a weapon at a police officer and the officer responded."

The Arlington police department has not concluded yet whether this shooting was justified. It is department policy for an officer involved shooting like this to be placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of that investigation.

Houston police will also conduct an internal investigation.


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